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A CME Group spokesperson offered the following statement to CNBC:

“Our equity index futures and options markets paused intermittently following this evening’s open due to volatility, which triggered more than 40 Velocity Logic events in the first six minutes of trading. All markets operated as designed throughout.”

Speculation for the swell in volume and plunge in futures included the news of the arrest of the CFO of the Chinese telecom company Huawei. The arrest was made by the Canadian authorities on the extradition request by the U.S., a move that some worried could put trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington at risk.

“After we saw this Huawei news hit, it seemingly (and inordinately) contributed to an almost impossible 65 handle drop in Spooz (S&P futures) on the overnight reopen, with 36,700 contracts trading in the first 10 minutes,” said a note from the Nomura Securities trading desk.

But traders also speculated that the selling could be attributed to a large fund or funds liquidating a position.

“It feels to me that hedge fund redemptions are in full swing and equity investors were too complacent for years,” wrote Tom di Galoma, managing director at Seaport Global Holdings. “They are finding out what reality looks like which means stock prices go up slowly and go down hard.”

Futures briefly recovered but then eventually fell back to near those lows as traders said the damage was already done.

“After the gap lower inevitably hit more US Equities ‘stop loss’ limit orders and further bludgeoned trader sentiment, the modest recovery thereafter lost further steam over the very early US hours,” the Nomura note said.

The CME’s Velocity Logic is designed to detect market movements of a set numbers of ticks up or down in a predetermined amount of time and halt trading if necessary.

The S&P 500 fell 1.7 percent at the opening bell Thursday while the Dow dropped more than 450 points, bringing that index’s two-day losses to more than 1,000 points. The moves may also be linked to pent-up market jitters that accumulated when the major exchanges were closed on Wednesday for the funeral of President George H. W. Bush.

— With reporting by CNBC’s Michael Bloom.

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Apple lays off over 200 from Project Titan autonomous vehicle group

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In August 2018, Apple enlisted a Tesla engineering vice president and Apple veteran, Doug Field, to lead the Titan team alongside Bob Mansfield. This week’s dismissals from the group were seen, internally, as anticipated restructuring under the relatively new leadership.

Other employees who were impacted by the restructuring of Project Titan are staying at Apple, but moving to different parts of the company.

Of late, Apple CEO Tim Cook has touted his company’s initiatives in health as the key to its future growth. “I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, “What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?” it will be about health,” Cook told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

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shares jump despite disappointing earnings

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Company Vice President Sean Kim said the memory demand slowdown would be bigger than expected into the first half of 2019 due to China’s economic slowdown and the U.S.-China “trade situation,” according to Reuters.

Kim’s comments came days after China announced that the country’s economic growth in 2018 was its slowest in nearly three decades. At the same time, Beijing and Washington are attempting to strike a deal amid an ongoing trade dispute which has seen the two largest economies in the world slap billions of dollars worth of tariffs on each other’s goods.

Some analysts were not surprised by the earnings report from SK Hynix.

“(The) results were as expected,” Daniel Yoo, head of global strategy at Kiwoom Securities, told CNBC in an email.

However, he warn that both SK Hynix and its rival Samsung were likely to see their operating profit for the first two quarters of 2019 coming in “less than half of last year’s record high(s).”

Yoo’s sentiments were echoed by Sanjeev Rana, a senior analyst at CLSA.

“I think we have a little bit more pain to go for the next two quarters,” Rana told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

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Huawei CFO extradition could be complicated: ex-US ambassador to China

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“Whenever a chief executive starts to voice his or her thoughts on the case, that’s a huge additional complication for the prosecution,” Baucus added. “In this case, it’s President Trump’s statement with respect to the Meng case … it makes it harder for the prosecution to get the extradition.”

Earlier this week, Canadian newspaper Global and Mail reported that the U.S. has told Canada it will formally request for Meng’s extradition — though no timeline was specified.

For its part, China has demanded the U.S. drop the extradition request. According to Canada, Beijing detained more than a dozen of its citizens after Meng’s arrest.

Baucus warned that if the U.S. extradition request is granted, it would have a major impact on the U.S.-China relationship.

The world’s two largest economies had been embroiled in a trade war in recent months, which roiled markets and sparked concerns over the health of the global economy. Late last year, Beijing and Washington agreed to a temporary pause on applying new tariffs in order to work out a mutually agreeable trade deal.

Huawei is one of China’s largest companies. The U.S. government has for years taken issue with the tech giant over its alleged espionage ties to the Chinese government and has accused the company of intellectual property theft.

— Reuters and CNBC’s Kate Fazzini contributed to this report.

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